Living on the farm there are most days that I think "Wow, he's getting a lot better". Thinking that may give me some peace of mind but it makes me put little expectations on him that end up not being good. Those expectations will lead to me being let down and then frustrated as I ascribe motives to him failing to meet them. But that is all on me. He didn't have anything to do with that whole cycle.
We live a life that is conducive to his highest functioning here on the farm and this is why I sometimes think he's a lot better. I am so thankful for those times that remind me of what he still deals with inside and of the simple things that are so difficult for him.
Our daily routine is basically groundhogs day. That's how he functions best. I try to replicate each day and just slowly add in little improvements as I see necessary. That means life is boring for me but I do it for him. He is a worker in every meaning of the word. He likes to get things done, to feel productive, to build things and better his environment's functioning. He gets tickled at his accomplishments no matter how small and he loves to share them with me. It's his clutch on manhood that he believes is mostly vanished (I disagree). So with his high productivity he has a list of jobs which each have many steps requiring they be done in the proper order and job has a corresponding shopping list. Not a big deal for most people but each day he is unaware of what day it is, of his day's plan, of what he was working on yesterday and what he may need to finish today. He's always in the present moment and requires queues to remember things. He has taught himself to be very methodical and routine with his tasks and even though it means every step takes a lot more time, it's the only way he can get it done. The love for his animals forces him outside each day to feed and water them. He has a relationship with them all and has the funniest stories to share with me about the Days Of Their Lives...lol. Once he's out there then he's in THAT moment, surrounding by his work. Groundhog's day.
It's when I get the text that we need to go to the hardware store that his routine now must take a detour. We must venture out of our groundhog's day and into the mine field of the unpredictable world....turn up the stress and hold on to your seats! These are the experiences though that I'm ultimately thankful for, like I said above, even if they make me incredibly sad at the same time. Sometimes I watch our situation from the eyes of an onlooker. A grown man talking to himself in aisle 6 holding onto parts while he tries to figure out what piece will go where. The man struggles to stand upright and think while his frustration can be seen and felt by those that pass by. He gets angry that they are there invading his aisle! He gets angry at the music coming down from above, at the occasional "Are you finding everything ok"? interruptions, and worries that he's making his wife unhappy to be there. He feels he's failing her because his stupid brain can't do this. He's so defeated yet he knows if he gives up and leaves he'll have to come back because he needs these parts! I try to wander around the store coming back to "feel his vibes" every few minutes. I can feel that he's worried about me so I approach in time to hear his apology. I reassure him that I'm just fine and he can take all the time he needs! I wander some more. If I were to stand there he'd feel more pressure and so I don't want to add to it. When I see that other people are encroaching into his large bubble, I place myself between them so he can calm down a bit. When he finally thinks he has what he needs, we venture to the checkout counter where he'll have to dodge through the checker's gunfire questions. I try to answer where I can, I try to interject the suggestion that he can go out to the car and I can take it from here. Sometimes he takes me up on that but sometimes he just stays and suffers through this last agonizing ascent. When he's successfully passed this exam of answering all the questions without blowing a fuse, getting out the debit card, pushing the right buttons on the pay pad, putting the debit card back in the wallet, gathering his bags, and walking out of the store he lets out a sigh of relief! He relaxes in the car as I take him back to his safe base. Both of us hope we won't have to do that for quite a while!
Inevitably that battle at the hardware store will have taken all his energy for the day and his reserves. He'll be taking it easy and sleeping extra hours for that one. It will take us 2 or 3 days to get back on schedule, back to groundhogs day on the farm, back to him being able to smile and share funny animal stories.